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Bedford County, PA ...Simple pleasures and four seasons of natural beauty.
Shawnee State Park
Shawnee State Park consists of 3,983 acres in Pennsylvania’s scenic Ridge and Valley Province. Located along PA Route 30, 10 miles west of historic Bedford, the park provides fine recreational facilities that are convenient for the visitor and fit into the natural environment.
A focal point of the park is the 451-acre Shawnee Lake.
A varied selection of recreational opportunities has made Shawnee State Park one of Pennsylvania's favorite leisure areas during every season of the year.
Camping: The 293 sites of the camping area are equipped with picnic tables and fire rings and can accommodate either tents or trailers. Fifty sites have electric hookups. There is a sanitary dump station and centrally located washhouses with flush toilets, showers and laundry tubs. A camp store sells wood, charcoal and other camping supplies and is open from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day. The camping season begins the second Friday in April and ends after the antlerless deer season in December.
Organized Group Tenting: A 100-person capacity primitive tenting area with composting toilets and a hand-pumped well is available April through December for organized youth and adult groups. Advance reservations are required.
Boating: Boats may use electric motors. Non-powered boats must have one of the following: state park launching permit or state park mooring permit which are available at most state park offices; or current Pennsylvania boat registration. Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Motorboats registered in other states must display a Pennsylvania state park launch permit or mooring permit in addition to their current registration.
Three boat launch areas and 183 boat mooring spaces are available. Paddleboats, canoes and rowboats can be rented at the boat concession during the summer.
Fishing: Shawnee Lake is stocked with warm water game fish. Common game species are smallmouth and largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, muskellunge, pickerel, catfish, crappie, yellow perch, bluegills, sunfish, suckers, bullheads and carp. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply.
PA Fish and Boat Commission biologists conducted an April 5-9, 1999 trapnet survey of the 451 acre lake fishery in Shawnee State Park to evaluate fish populations after the "Big Drawdown" of 1995-96 for bridge repairs. The 15 species of fish captured during this survey included 6 muskellunge from 36 to 47 inches and 38 pounds and 16 chain pickerel from 7 to 17 inches. The 160 northern pike from 12 to 35 inches and 9.4 pounds represented phenomenal natural reproduction in Spring 1997 and 1998 following the lake's refilling and were not a Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocking as speculated by anglers. Northern pike were stocked as fry and fingerlings from 1964 through 1976 with that 1976 plant of 6-8 inch fingerlings the last recorded. Surveys over a 20 year period and as recently as 1991 prior to the "Big Drawdown" had never captured more than 15 northern pike (1978) with only 5 captured in April 1991. Fish salvage electrofishing efforts below the dam in April 1996 and July 1996 recorded a total of only 5 northern pike.
Twenty-seven walleyes from 14 to 24 inches and 4.2 pounds were captured with most exceeding the 15 inch length limit and, considering the many walleyes salvaged from below the dam and moved back into the lake during the Drayton, our catch is on the low side of the numbers of walleyes available to Shawnee anglers . Shawnee panfish populations were well represented by 1797 yellow perch from 3 to 14 inches, 373 black crappies from 2 to 13 inches, 321 bluegills from 2 to 9 inches and an abundance of brown bullheads--reproducing in phenomenal numbers after the lake was refilled--from 3 to 16 inches. The April catch suggested that panfish anglers could expect fair to good numbers of 11 to 14 inch yellow perch, 9 to 13 inch black crappies, 6 to 9 inch bluegills and 12 to 16 inch bullheads.
Muskellunge and walleye management will continue with annual fingerling stocking and the every third year fall/winter drawdowns for predation control of abundant smaller fishes and aquatic vegetation control will continue with the next scheduled for Fall 2001.
Swimming: Shawnee’s sand and turf beach has modern bathhouses with flush toilets and showers. A food and drink concession is nearby. The guarded beach is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Saturday of Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day, unless otherwise posted.
Environmental Education and Interpretation: The park environmental interpreter conducts a regular summer program of nature walks and evening campfires with informative discussions, movies and slides.
Hiking: A 12-mile trail system invites you to explore the scenic beauty of the park.
Hunting: Over 3,000 acres of Shawnee State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, rabbit, squirrel and grouse. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. The park is used by other visitors during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment must be kept in the owner’s car, trailer or camp.
Picnicing: Picnic facilities are available and include picnic tables, charcoal grills, water fountains and restrooms. Five picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first come first served basis.
Snowmobiling: Registered snowmobiles are permitted on an 11-mile trail network.
Sledding and Tobogganing: A large area of hillsides is offered for downhill coasting.
Ice Fishing and Ice Boating: Park visitors enjoy these winter sports on the frozen Shawnee Lake. A Pennsylvania State Park launch permit is required for the use of ice boats. The ice thickness is not monitored. For your safety, be sure the ice is four inches thick and carry safety equipment.
Ice Skating: An area is maintained for this activity and is quite popular during the winter months.
Shawnee State Park is named for American Indians who lived for a short time in the vicinity of the park during their westward migration from the Potomac in the early 1700s.
General Forbes camped his army within the boundaries of the park while building the Forbes Road in the campaign of 1758 against the French at Fort Duquesne, Pittsburgh. One can still walk remnants of the Forbes Trail within the park. The white barn, buildings and houses now surrounded by a lake of water were once surrounded by a sea of grass. These buildings belonged to John Bowman’s "Water Brooks Farm." John Bowman was president and chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh and was the driving force behind the building of the Cathedral of Learning.
Access for People with Disabilities
Accessible facilities in the park include: park office, restrooms, two campsites, picnic pavilions, boat dock and fishing pier.
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact a park office, or make inquires through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 1-888-537-7294 (TTY). The Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks will gladly discuss how to accommodate your needs.
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